Zygote Quarterly

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Wanted to pass along this piece on Regenesis principal Ray Lucchesi, out now in the current issue of Zygote Quarterly. In the article, Ray talks about the relationship between biomimicry, biophilia and regenerative development as well as discusses some recent projects.

The Nature of Positive

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I wanted to share the link to “The Nature of Positive,” a new article by Pamela Mang and Bill Reed appearing in Building Research & Information. The article discusses the concept of net positive design through the lens of regenerative development and an ecological worldview: “Green building was developed from the sciences of the physical world and a mechanistic worldview. This is the same foundation that most of the thinking and technologies of the building industry rely on. It has produced an industry structure and culture in which the value of a building is still generally defined in terms of human benefit, most often measured in relatively short-term financial returns and human health. From this anthropocentric perspective, ‘ecological systems’ are resources or amenities to be managed and utilized for human purposes, so adding value to an ecological system must perforce mean making it more valuable to sustain human activity. The movement

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Book(s)

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At various times over the last twenty years, we at Regenesis have played with the idea of writing a book. Clearly this is the sort of thing that people can talk about for a long time but never do. In recent years, as interest in regenerative design and development has become more widespread, the intention has become elevated to running-joke status  (“That goes in the book!”). Then, after launching The Regenerative Practitioner series last year and seeing just how powerful the interest in a regenerative approach truly is, we decided that we couldn’t wait any longer. We are pleased to announce that we have signed a contract with Wiley to write that book, with a publication date in the fall of 2015. And, ushering the good news in with even more imminent good news, we are also pleased to announce that Designing for Hope: Regenerative Pathways to Sustainability, by Dr.

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intensive

The Regenerative Practitioner™ series: Enrolling now!

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Writing to announce that we are now enrolling our fourth TRP series, which begins in July. Last year, we had over 50 practitioners enrolled. We’ve taken their constructive feedback and made some upgrades, so we’re very excited about this offering. For more information, visit our website.

photo credit: NASA

The Doomsday Fantasy

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When James Lovelock’s remarks hit the news last week, I watched a familiar pattern unfold. “Enjoy life while you can,” Lovelock told a Guardian reporter, referring to global warming. “Because if you’re lucky it’s going to be 20 years before it hits the fan.” This sort of potent doomsaying packs up really well into a clickable, shareable headline. I watched the story zip around the world in a day via email lists and Facebook walls, powered not by earnest concern for the state of the world but by something sadder—that special schadenfreude that we reserve for the human race as a whole. Let me digress briefly to say that I have a great and enduring respect for Lovelock’s work. He is not only a thought leader but a transformer of thought—someone who has inarguably helped the world to better see and understand its own reality. I also respect his contention

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photo by Trint Williams

Elizabeth Warren’s USPS Proposal: Stacking functions for community resilience

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The internet is abuzz with news of a proposal from the US Postal Service’s Inspector General, thrown into the spotlight by Senator Elizabeth Warren. Under the proposal, the USPS would use its extensive infrastructure to provide banking services in towns and neighborhoods that banks don’t bother with. By providing banking services access to the 68 million Americans who do not have bank accounts, the USPS could in one fell swoop challenge the highly destructive payday loan / check cashing industry, save people a lot of money (Warren states that non-bank-account-holding American households spend an average of $2400 a year, or 10% of their income, on these services alone), and net a badly needed $9 billion / year. A proposal like this provides a good illustration of an ecological principle well known to practitioners of permaculture and regenerative design. In ecological systems, resilience occurs when each element in the system both performs

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The Pixar pitch: How story moves the mind and changes how we see

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It is almost becoming a cliché when discussing regenerative or living systems design that we need to stop seeing the world as discrete objects and start seeing, and working with it as dynamic and moving.  A central focus of the Regenerative Practitioner series is learning how to make that mental shift.  Dynamic systems frameworks are one instrument utilized by Regenesis to that end.  Another powerful instrument is story or narrative. Shifting how we see a project we’re working on from a cluster of objects to a dynamic living process moving through time is a powerful source of insight and creative energy. Shifting our way of seeing is just the first step however.  The next big challenge comes in engaging others in a way that they can see, and be equally energized by, what you are seeing. Daniel Pink’s latest book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, describes

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Degenerative Habits of Mind: Changing thinking patterns that block regenerative practices

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You want to integrate regenerative design into your practice. You know, from all you’ve read and heard, that it requires a “different way of thinking,” a new world-view, and you’ve read the lists of attributes for both. So now what? At Regenesis, we’ve spent a lot of time helping people shift the way they think, and we fully appreciate the challenges that involves. The way we think is shaped by patterns that we’ve been taught or picked up over the course of our lives, patterns that are deeply embedded in our culture and institutions. Over time, these patterns have become increasingly interdependent and self-reinforcing and, most problematic, increasingly habitual because they are invisible to us. If we want to change how we think, the first step must be to make visible the patterns that currently shape our thinking. Only then can we decide which are useful when, and which condemn

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Soft Infrastructure for Sandy

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In an era of decreased budgets at every level of government the disasters caused by storms like Super Storm Sandy present us real problems. They also are causing us to be creative and to form unique partnerships. While building hard infrastructure is expensive and time consuming, partnering with nature and allowing the re-establishment of buffering wetlands may be more cost and outcome effective. Our choices may have more to do with habit than rationality. In his November article on the Sustainable Cities Collective website Colin Cafferty discusses the value of buffering wetlands. Filling in wetlands and building close to the water has made us vulnerable to sea level rise and storms. “New York’s wetlands … are actually a key difference for the protection of the city’s citizens against future flooding disasters. Wetlands provide natural flood control by temporarily holding and absorbing floodwater, reducing the energy of storm surges and helping to control

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Putting Regeneration to Work: the how of regenerative development

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There’s a lot of buzz about regeneration in the design, building and planning world these days. A special issue of the prestigious Building Research and Information journal (Regenerative Design and Development) is adding to that buzz, along with the 2013 Living Future unConference (Resilience & Regeneration). But in all that’s being written, talked about and presented, there’s a lot about the what of regeneration, but very little about the how. For working practitioners interested in the how, finding comprehensive, integrated learning opportunities designed to fit their work constraints is a major challenge. To address this growing void, Regenesis is launching a regenerative learning community for people who are passionate about pioneering the evolution of how we create and inhabit our built environment. The first offering is an invitational, hands-on, live distance-learning series—The Regenerative PractitionerTM. Ready to go beyond just talking about regeneration to putting it to work? You can find

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